Webcam to broadcast line in library cafe?

Steven Turner sjturner at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 9 11:57:20 EDT 2014

I agree with Laura - many colleges and universities have been hosting
webcams for a very long time without issues - Sewanee, Auburn, etc. we  -
UA - have even placed them in our Rec center to have realtime access to
view current capacity in order to alleviate crowding issues - in fact, if
there was ever a place to consider stalking issues, it would be a
university rec center. Additionally we are a very conservative (legally)
university, so I cannot imagine there are any possible issues in terms of
state or federal or even case law with these cameras as our legal counsel
would have performed considerable vetting prior to allowing the cameras. I
personally think the advantages outweigh any privacy concerns.

Additionally, many states have live views of any and all traffic cameras
located within that state (Mississippi and Louisiana's are highly
accessible and the view of traffic, people, license plates, activities,
etc., is highly visible).

I find this timely as well as I have been pushing on and off for my
institution to implement something similar. We already provide real time
mapping of computer usage and campus bus locations, so to me, this would be
an extension of those sorts of services, but even more interesting and just
as useful


On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM, Laura Baker <bakerl at> wrote:

> What a timely message!  Our library is considering the same thing.  There
> are a number of libraries that do this.  Here are some examples:
> Additionally, there was an excellent presentation a few years ago at ALA
> from a library who did this (perhaps NCSU?), and they said the webcam was
> easily one of the most frequently accessed links on their mobile site.  I
> believe there is another publication by ALA on mobile libraries, and it
> lists webcams as common content for consideration on mobile sites.
> I asked some libraries with webcams if they encountered a privacy issue.
> While all had considered it, none said it was a problem.  Camera placement
> is critical.  Some suggestions were to keep the camera up high and perhaps
> use a lower resolution so as not to seem to focus on faces.  What you want
> is just a general sense of space and activity.
> We ran the idea by our campus police, who felt it was not a privacy
> issue.  They pointed out that a number of restaurants, hotel lobbies, and
> storefronts have public webcams.  The cameras are in public places, and as
> long as we had a notice on the doors that cameras are in place, then they
> felt that was good.  We informally polled students about the idea, and they
> were okay with it.  Interestingly enough our staff are the ones with
> concerns.
> I would be very interested in hearing from others who have webcams and
> what your experience has been.
> Laura
> On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 9:50 AM, Heather Rayl <23eris at> wrote:
>> Hey all!
>> We are in the process of re-designing our website, and someone suggested
>> that it would be neat to have a live webcam trained on the line in the cafe
>> so people could see if it was busy or slow.
>> Initially I thought this was a great idea, however, my privacy sensors
>> are going off the more I think about it.
>> Does anyone know of a library that's running this sort of set-up? I know
>> that the US Fed. Gov't allows you to film public places for a CCTV feed,
>> but publishing said feed on the web is a completely different thing.
>> Also, there are creepy people in the world. Could said creepy people use
>> this live webcam to stalk someone?
>> I don't really want to take this to the university's legal counsel...
>> Thanks for you help and thoughts!!
>> ~heather
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> --
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Laura Baker
> Librarian -- Digital Research and Learning
> Abilene Christian University Library
> 221 Brown Library / ACU Box 29208
> Abilene, TX  79699-9208
> bakerl at
> phone: (325) 674-2477
> fax:   (325) 674-2202
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